From Restaurant INFORMER, 2014, Vol. 4, Issue 4
For Chef Kevin Gillespie, food has always been a passion.
“I grew up in a household where food was the center of all gatherings. My Granny made breakfast for our whole extended family every day,” he says. “It was something I enjoyed and wanted to be a part of.”
A former Top Chef contestant, Gillespie first won local acclaim as executive chef at Woodfire Grill. In May 2013, Gillespie opened his own restaurant, Gunshow, in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta. The restaurant features a unique dining style where Gillespie and his team prepare both refined and rustic dishes and sends them out to the small dining room for guests to choose from. The menu is ever evolving with food that is seasonally rooted, locally focused and unlimited in its stylistic boundaries.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Gunshow was named one of GQ Magazine’s “12 Most Outstanding Restaurants,” in February, and Esquire magazine just named it one of its best new restaurants of 2014, just two of many that are recognizing the restaurant as one of the most innovative in the country.
An Atlanta native, Gillespie began his culinary education at the Art Institute of Atlanta. While carrying a full course load at the Art Institute, he worked part time at various restaurants perfecting his craft. After graduating with honors, Gillespie went on to hold several different positions, including chef de partie at Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, sous chef at TWO Urban Licks and chef de cuisine at Woodfire Grill.
In August of 2006, Gillespie headed to the West Coast, where he went to work as executive sous chef at Fife Restaurant in Portland, Ore. After a year and a half there, he missed his family and friends in the South and returned to Atlanta. Gillespie came back to Woodfire Grill to continue to work for his friend and teacher Michael Tuohy, eventually getting promoted to executive chef in 2009.
Gillespie is a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Southern Foodways Alliance, Chefs Collaborative, Georgia Organics, Community Farmers Markets Chefs Advisory Board and the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue.
“In general and to our country, restaurants are a symbol of prosperity and good times. They are a place people go to celebrate life, independences, choices,” he says. “Our industry is a compass that points toward things that are good and make people happy.”